Deakin University

File(s) under embargo

Rebuilding the Heritage of Mosul: Public Opinion Survey Findings

posted on 2024-03-13, 01:44 authored by Benjamin IsakhanBenjamin Isakhan, Lynn Meskell
This report summarises responses from a survey of 1600 Mosul residents who were asked about their attitudes towards heritage, its destruction by groups like the Islamic State and its reconstruction by foreign actors like UNESCO. The results indicate that the overwhelming majority of Maslawis reported immense pride in the rich cultural heritage of Iraq, felt aggrieved by the destruction of heritage sites during the recent conflict, and wanted to see their heritage reconstructed. However, the survey also suggests four key recommendations for current and future heritage reconstruction projects in Mosul, namely: that heritage is not their most urgent priority; that they highly value local religious sites over iconic or archaeological sites; that the want destroyed sites transformed into useful modern structures; and that they want Iraqis to have agency and control over the future of their heritage.







yes - this report has also been translated into Arabic

Research statement

Background This report documents the results of a public opinion survey of Mosul, documenting locals perceptions of heritage, its destruction by the Islamic State and reconstruction by foreign actors such as UNESCO. This is a significant outcome of an ARC Discovery project. Contribution Following the Islamic State's conquest of Mosul in 2014 they unleashed a wave of attacks against heritage sites. This was followed by several ambitious projects to rebuild heritage in the city, including UNESCO's flagship project to 'Revive the Spirit of Mosul'. However, very little data exists on how the people of Mosul view their heritage, its destruction or reconstruction. This report therefore addresses this lacuna by documenting the results of the world's first public opinion survey of heritage in post-IS Mosul. Significance The reconstruction of heritage after conflict has become a significant motive driving international engagement in post-conflict scenarios. Foremost among these, UNESCO has claimed that the reconstruction of heritage has broad local support and will foster peace, dialogue and security. This project holds such claims up to empirical scrutiny via the largest study to date of public opinion on heritage in Mosul following the defeat of the Islamic State.


Deakin University

Usage metrics

    Research Publications


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager